In every Studio Art major’s life, there comes a time when your art has to leave the safe confines of the studio and make its way into the world. Through Studio Topics, my capstone course, my classmates and I have reached that time.
While the class is the most intimidating I’ve taken at Clark, it provides the freedom of making individual work and a peer group of other Clarkie artists. We make our individual art while constantly thinking about our place as contemporary artists. It’s one thing to have that solace of making your own creation, especially within the spaces of a free, private studio in Estabrook Hall. It’s another thing to have the desire for it to add up to something greater, and the idea of making art for the world is a daunting prospect.
As the class faces questions like “Why continue making?” or “How to continue making?” it seems imperative for us to form communities and connect as artists. Here, I’ve decided to use this space to get to know my peers. I’m interested in their work, why they make art and what they have to say to others who have the desire to make.
Andrea is working on a diptych, a painting on two hinged wooden panels, this semester. Using varying styles, she depicts herself as a female nude. Her project stemmed from a problem Andrea thought was necessary to discuss: the sexualized way in which society tends to view the female body.
“Reclaiming the female body,” she exclaims, is an essential part of her artistic exercise. Andrea puts herself in view, painted into nude figures that engage with each other in a conscious space. The painting is aware of the apathetic sexualized gaze, but the forms shape it into an artistic, sympathetic recognition of the female form just as it is — playful, subtle, beautiful and feminine.
Andre is working on a series of sketches and paintings that engage with black masculine identity. In his studio space, words like “brother,” “black” and “brown” dominate the eye. We look into a space where his concerns — how being “melanated” — transpires into spirit, into art, into rising above constructs that stifle us. As the work is in progress, I see layers in his painting that depict memory and experience.
Fileona Dkhar ’17 writes for Clark Diaries, a Tumblr blog snapshot of campus life, for Clark’s Undergraduate Admissions office. Look for her posts there and periodically on ClarkNow.